The Lifestyle Images of Mark Garten:
In 2001, Corbis bought The Stock Market. “It was the last large, privately
owned stock agency around,” says Garten. He continued working with them
until the time came to sign a new contract. “At that point, I stopped
submitting work and chose not to renew,” he states. Garten observes that
the stock industry has changed very rapidly, and isn’t as personal as
it used to be. “You’re more of a number with them.” Today,
he says, some agencies are producing their own stock by hiring photographers
for a day rate, and the agency owns the rights to the images. Everything is
Web-based today. “It all depends on what your search engine is, and what
keywords you use, as to what you get in your searches,” he says.
For the past two years, Garten has worked for the United Nations. He documents
life at the UN, from routine public meetings to major history-making events.
He’s photographed the General Assembly, President George Bush, Secretary
of State Colin Powell, and Iraqi Ambassador Mohammed Aldouri’s final statement
at the UN in March, 2003. He also shoots for Manhattan College and the Associated
Press (“I never liked to pigeon-hole myself into doing only one thing”).
Some of his current advertising and editorial clients include Microsoft, Chili
Pepper Designs, Anderson Windows, Fox Fowl & Associates Architects, Durst
Corporation, and Smart Money.
Garten is also a member of Olympus Visionaries, a partnership established by
Olympus America that offers a venue to a select group of professional photographers
to express their creative vision through digital photography, and in turn, provide
Olympus with input on their products. “When they developed the E-1,”
he says, “Olympus held meetings with photographers to find out what we
wanted and didn’t want in a digital camera system.”
He uses the Olympus E-1 when shooting digitally, with the 14–54mm zoom,
50mm macro, and 50–200mm zoom lenses. He also uses a 1.4X teleconverter
and the FL-50 flash. On occasion, he also uses Olympus’s five-megapixel
C-5060. He took the E-20 to Turkey in 2002, which was his first fully digital
trip. But in addition to his allegiance to Olympus, he points out, “I’ve
used everything—what haven’t I shot with?” This diversity
includes Nikon and Canon SLRs, a Mamiya RZ67, Rolleiflex, Fuji 617 panoramic
camera, and the Debonair (a medium-format 645 version of a Holga). “My
wife calls them toys; I call them tools,” he laughs. He’s even melted
plastic lenses in the oven slightly to give his images a special effect. Garten
says he utilizes Photoshop for color correction, and burning and dodging through
layer masks. He currently works with a Mac G4 with a flat screen and 1 GB of
RAM. He rents studios when it’s necessary, “But predominately, I
shoot on location.” He likes the lighting challenges that location photography
offers, and often uses studio lighting equipment, scrims and reflectors.